Lookit what I did today! I tied my very first fly. And my second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Above are the flies I tied, and below are the flies they sent me home with. My instructor, Bob, was 71 and was an awesome teacher! Bob gave me all the flies he tied, and Jay from DAV tossed me one, and so did Rob, a fly fishing guide. I started out clumsy and got better. I’m hoping that’s how the casting lesson goes on the 14th at Lake Margaret, south of Oregon City.
It’s a program for vets called Project Healing Waters. It’s designed for disabled veterans and active duty military members. They hold fly-tying workshops taught by volunteers and then sponsor fishing outings. The supplies are all donated and so are the expenses of the outings, so veterans do not have to spend money to find the peace they offer.
I attended a workshop today at the Veterans Administration Vancouver campus, which is a really beautiful place. It poured rain all day long and I had not been in Vancouver since I was a kid (besides driving through on I-5), so I was rather nervous. But I made it up there just fine, and on time, and found the place without getting too soaked.
It did meet some of my expectations. As in: I was the only female to show up, and I was probably the only person under 65. But hey, that’s ok. I needed to shake my life up a bit to get my head out of my worries and focus on something else. So watching these old guys have a good time was fun.
I couldn’t help but think of my dad who is the only fly fisherman I know. Memories pulled me back in time, when I recalled standing out on the wide, rocky beaches, watching his line fly so far back and so far forward. Back and forth and back, and then dropping silently onto the surface of the river. For a few minutes I was in my homeland from far, far into my past.
I spent six years of my childhood living on the North Umpqua River. We were part of the now defunct Steamboat Ranger Station, across the river from the Steamboat Inn, and the lovely lovely owners and friends, Jim and Sharon VanLoan. Hard to believe it has taken me this long to learn to tie a fly, when I grew up on some of the most coveted Salmon fly fishing riverbanks in the world.